I was talking over the supper table last night with some of the journalists from the press. Not all Synod members feel that what goes on in the chamber, and what gets reported, quite match. But even the Archbishop of Canterbury in his sermon in York Minster on Sunday reminded us that Jesus would also be with the (even!) members of the press gallery. No wonder one journalist felt Rowan might have just saved the church!
Here is a puzzle for Synod speech-makers though... Which media to aim at? The soundbite beloved of the broadcast media, or the written press? The chamber likes to hear speeches that lighten the debate with jokes and anecdotes. There are many eloquent and humorous members of synod, and that is one of the delights of sitting listening in the chamber - even hour after hour. Some of these also make it on to the radio or even tv.
But the printed press find that jokes and anecdotes just don't work on paper. So here is the synod conundrum: to speak with the sort of substance and gravitas that gets quoted in the papers; or wow the crowd with a lighthearted and engaging speech.
Of course the truth is, that what is needed is both. And fortunately, many speakers manage to achieve this in their speeches.
Come and sit in the visitors gallery for Synod at some time, to hear for yourself. Synod meets at Church House Westminster from 9-13 February 2009, and future dates can be seen here.
Alastair Cutting, GS101